Profile – Cristina Branquinho

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Cristina Branquinho

Job Title:

Associate Professor


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Google Scholar Profile


Cristina Branquinho, PhD
Associate Professor with Habilitation in plant Ecology
Centre of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes
Faculdade de Ciências of Universidade de Lisboa
Lisbon, Portugal,

Cristina Branquinho has been working in Ecology and in Environmental topics since 1992. She is an Associate Professor with habilitation at Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Centre of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, leading the group of 20 researchers in Ecology of Environmental Changes (eChanges). She is experienced in monitoring the impact of pollution or anthropogenic activities, such as, mines, quarries, industrial, rural and urban areas on different environmental matrixes: air, soil, water, plants and also at the ecosystem level. Part of the work has been based on the use of biological organisms as indicators of environmental quality. She has also developed methodologies for measuring PAHs and heavy metal contamination in stream water using transplanted aquatic mosses. With the previous information she has been building spatial (local or regional) and temporal geostatistical models with potential use for decision making. Since 2000 she has also been applying the previous knowledge to Environmental Health studies, in particular developing environmental biomonitoring to assess human exposure to toxic pollutants mainly, heavy metals, dioxins, furans and PAHs, and relating several environmental bioindicators and/or biomonitors of pollution and of land-uses changes with public health indicators in order to develop efficient tools for evaluation of the Human health risk assessment, especially with long-term chronic effects on health. This allows the production of high-resolution data on environmental exposure for developing reliable environmental health risk assessment studies. Part of her research is also been developed using the knowledge and the scientific principles of structure and functioning of ecosystems to undergo an ecological management and define sustainable strategies for the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems. Namely, proposing managing options and scenarios including the strategy of ecological restoration in particular in Mediterranean streams, metal mines, quarries, heavy industries natural forests and sand beach dunes. In particular, she is using Biological Soil Crusts for the restoration of margins of dams and desertified areas. Recently she has been involved in the production of Biological Soil Crusts for green roofs in order to avoid watering in Mediterranean areas. She is also interested in studying early warning indicators of climate change and of desertification especially in the south of Portugal. More recently she is interested in further apply this methodology in other areas of the world especially Africa and South America. For that, she intends to use the changes in ecological indicators of the structure and functioning of ecosystems as a result of global changes, climate change, nitrogen, metal and organic pollution.


Research Areas:

  • Plant ecology
  • Ecological indicators
  • Global change factors affecting ecosystems

Current N-related Projects:

  • NitroPortugal


Ochoa Hueso R, Silvana M, Rocio A Arróniz Crespo M, Avila A, Bermejo V, Bobbink R, Branquinho C, Concostrina-Zubiri L, Cruz C, Cruz de Carvalho R, De Marco A, Dias T, Elustondo D, Elvira S, Estebanez B, Fusaro L, Gerosa G, Izquieta-Riojano S, Lo Cascio M, Marzuoli R, Matos P, Mereu S, Merino J, Morillas L, Nunes A, Paoletti E, Paoli L, Pinho P, Rogers I, Santos A, Sicard P, Stevens C, Theobald MR. 2017. Ecological Impacts of Atmospheric Pollution and Interactions with Climate Change in Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Mediterranean Basin: Current Research and Future Directions. Environmental Pollution (accepted).
Aguillaume L, Avila A, Pinho P, Matos P, Llop E, Branquinho C. The critical levels of atmospheric ammonia in a Mediterranean forest in North-Eastern Spain. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 228: 93. doi:10.1007/s11270-017-3286-8
Munzi S, Sheppard L, Leith ID, Cruz C, Branquinho C, Bini L, Gagliardi A, Cai G, Parrotta L. 2017. The cost of surviving nitrogen excess: energy and protein demand in the lichen Cladonia portentosa as revealed by proteomic analysis. Planta, 245(4):819-833. doi:10.1007/s00425-017-2647.
Pinho P, Correia O, Lecoq M, Munzi S, Vasconcelos S, Gonçalves P, Rebelo R, Antunes C, Silva P, Freitas C, Lopes N, Santos-Reis M, Branquinho C. 2016. Evaluating green infrastructure in urban environments using a multi-taxa and functional diversity approach. Environmental Research, 147:601-610. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.12.025.
Shibata H, Branquinho C, Mcdowell WH, Mitchell MJ, Monteith DT, Tang J, Arvola L, Cruz C, Cusack D, Halada L, Kopacek J, Máguas C, Sajidu S, Schubert H, Tokuchi N, Záhora J. 2015. Consequence of altered nitrogen cycles in the coupled human and ecological system under changing climate: the need for long-term and site-based researches. AMBIO, 44:178-193. DOI:10.1007/s13280-014-0545-4.
Munzi S, Correia O, Silva P, Lopes N, Freitas C, Branquinho C, Pinho P. 2014. Lichens as ecological indicators in urban areas: beyond the effects of pollutants. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51:1750–1757. DOI:10.1111/1365-2664.12304.
Pinho P, Llop E, Castro-Ribeiro M, Cruz C, Soares A, Pereira MJ, Branquinho C. 2014. Tools for determining critical level of atmospheric ammonia under the influence of multiple disturbances. Environmental Pollution, 188:88-93. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2014.01.024.
Munzi C, Cruz C, Branquinho C, Pinho P, Leith ID, Sheppard LJ. 2014. Can ammonia tolerance amongst lichen functional groups be explained by physiological responses? Environmental Pollution, 187:206-209. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2014.01.009.
Munzi S, Branquinho C, Cruz C, Loppi S. 2013. Nitrogen tolerance in the lichen Xanthoria parietina: the sensitive side of a resistant species. Functional Plant Biology, 40:237-243. DOI:10.1071/FP12127.
Pinho P, Theobald MR, Dias T, Tang YS, Cruz C, Martins-Loução MA, Máguas C, Sutton M, Branquinho C. 2012. Critical loads of nitrogen deposition and critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for semi-natural Mediterranean evergreen woodlands. Biogeosciences, 9:1205-1215. DOI: 10.5194/bg-9-1205-2012.
Pinho P, Bergamini A, Carvalho P, Branquinho C, Stofer S, Scheidegger C, Máguas C. 2012. Lichen functional groups as ecological indicators of the effects of low-intensity land-use in Mediterranean ecosystems. Ecological Indicators, 15:36-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.09.022.
Llop E, Pinho P, Matos P, Pereira MJ, Branquinho C. 2012. The use of lichen functional groups as indicators of air quality in a Mediterranean urban environment. Ecological Indicators, 13:215-221. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.06.005.
Pinho P, Dias T, Cruz C, Tang YS, Sutton M, Martins-Loução MA, Máguas C, Branquinho C. 2011. Using lichen functional-diversity to assess the effects of atmospheric ammonia in Mediterranean woodlands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48:1107-1116. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02033.x.
Ochoa-Hueso R, Allen EB, Branquinho C, Cruz C, Dias T, Fenn ME, Manrique E, Pérez-Corona ME, Sheppard L, Stock WD. 2011. Nitrogen deposition effects on Mediterranean-type ecosystems: An ecological assessment. Review. Environmental Pollution, 159:2265-2279. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.12.019.
Munzi S, Loppi S, Cruz C, Branquinho C. 2011. Do lichens have “memory” of their native N environment? Planta, 233:333-342. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-010-1300-0.
Vieira AR, Martins-Loução MA, Branquinho C. 2009. Intracellular and extracellular ammonium (NH4+) uptake and its toxic effects on the aquatic biomonitor Fontinalis antipyretica. Ecotoxicology, 18: 1087–1094. DOI: 10.1007/s10646-009-0374-6.
Pinho P, Augusto S, Martins-Loução MA, João-Pereira M, Soares A, Máguas C, Branquinho C. 2008. Causes of change in nitrophytic and oligotrophic lichen species in a Mediterranean climate: Impact of land cover and atmospheric pollutants. Environmental Pollution, 154:380-389. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.11.028.
Pinho P, Augusto S, Máguas C, Pereira M, Soares A, Branquinho C. 2008. Impact of neighborhood land-cover in epiphytic lichen diversity: analysis of multiple factors working at different spatial scales. Environmental Pollution, 151:414-422. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.06.015.